Boston has made an offer to the next superintendent of its schools. All that remains is for her to accept.
Highlights of the draft contract were provided by Boston School Committee chair Geri Robinson Wednesday evening before school members voted unanimously to approve it.
Under its terms, incoming superintendent Mary Skipper would officially begin work on September 26, signing on for four years in the role and earning a starting annual salary of $300,000.
The contract leaves room for a potential 2.5% raise next year, and allows for Skipper and the city to agree to a “mutual separation” — language that hasn’t been a part of the city’s prior agreements with district leaders.
Both of Boston’s last two appointed superintendents — Brenda Cassellius and Tommy Chang — left the job prematurely on reportedly mutual terms with city leadership.
Skipper's proposed base salary would represent a roughly 1% increase over the $291,000 earned by Cassellius, her predecessor, in her last full year on the job.
Cassellius left the district with a full year’s pay plus money for unused vacation time per the terms of a separation agreement signed in February. Acting superintendent Drew Echelson is being paid $5,384 a week for his work covering a July to September leadership gap and extending 120 days into Skipper's tenure.
Based on Boston's latest payroll data, Skipper would rank as the city’s 41st highest-paid employee. Cassellius, 38 Boston Police officers and two Fire Department officials earned more than $300,000 in 2021.
The Boston School Committee voted by a 4-3 majority in June to appoint Skipper, a Boston native and veteran administrator who currently leads the Somerville schools.
At Wednesday's meeting, they presented the deal as competitive, fair and designed to keep Skipper in place for the foreseeable future. Boston has seen a high superintendent churn over the last decade.
Boston Public Schools declined to share the text of the contract ahead of its signing, which could come in the next few days.
The deal comes as Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is proposing to raise salaries for top city officials, including her own.
School committee member Michael O’Neill acknowledged at the meeting that superintendents’ pay nationally is “rising rapidly” — partly, he said, due to “the difficulty of the work.”
The leaders of other large urban school districts earn at least $300,000, including in Philadelphia (William Hite: $334,000); New York (David Banks: $363,346); and Chicago (Pedro Martinez: $340,000). Those other districts are as much as two to 10 times as large as BPS, the largest school district in Massachusetts which enrolls roughly 46,000 students across 125 schools.
Skipper, who is still winding down her time leading the Somerville Public Schools, addressed the school committee briefly on Wednesday, saying she feels "honored" to lead the district and looks forward to the work ahead.